Following an amazing few days in both Nanyuki, visiting Ol Pejeta and Mount Kenya Animal Orphanage, and in Samburu, visiting the Game Lodge, the Parks Family were shortly to depart from Kenya so we travelled to Nairobi to spend some time there, before they had to embark upon their journey home.
Our day in Nairobi was spent visiting the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, where orphaned elephants are housed. This is truly an amazing place.
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust was founded in 1977 and exists to protect Africa’s wildlife and preserve habitats for the future of all wild species. It operates the most successful orphan elephant and rhino rescue and rehabilitation program in the world. Its projects include anti-poaching, safeguarding natural environment, enhancing community awareness, addressing animal welfare issues, providing veterinary assistance to animals in need and rescuing and hand rearing orphaned elephants and rhino. The Trust work very closely with Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) and Kenya Forest Services and perhaps most importantly, the local communities.
We attended at their premises in Nairobi to spend a spell binding hour with the orphaned elephants and although they all had a terribly sad story, each and every baby elephant seemed happy and healthy and thoroughly well looked after by the devoted staff.
There were many baby elephants guided down to a designated fenced area where we were able to observe the elephants and if they wandered close enough, we were allowed to reach out and touch them.
The babies were mainly interested in their giant bottles of milk but when the bottles were greedily finished off, the elephants wandered around and munched on tree branches, and played with them, tossing them around before being discarded and the bark stripped off for extra sustenance. They were delightful to watch!
Whilst we were watching them and stroking them, a member of staff narrated each and every elephants’ story and explained to the crowds of people how the elephants were rescued, and what is necessary for their survival. We were all fascinated to learn that baby elephants are bottle fed the very same formula milk that we give to human babies. It was also pleasing to learn that it is always the policy of the David Sheldrick Trust that rescued animals should be rehabilitated back into the wild and they have a reintegration unit in the northern area of the Tsavo East National Park. Great pleasure was taken by us all in being so close to the babies, enormous though they were, and being able to touch them and stroke them.
After this wonderful morning, we then proceeded to the Giraffe Centre in Nairobi, a creation of the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (AFEW, Kenya) founded in 1979. Mr Nomad and I had previously been to this magical place, the home of the endangered Rothschild Giraffe and it was an absolute pleasure to share the magic with the Parks clan who were in awe of these magnificent creatures.
The Rothschild giraffe is a sub species of giraffe found only in the grasslands of East Africa and this wonderful centre have a programme of breeding as well as the reintroduction of the giraffe back into the wild. The Rothschild giraffe are the tallest of the giraffe species, measuring in height up to 5.88 metres, and they certainly towered over all of us humans.
We all had the opportunity to get up close and personal with the giraffes and they were fed tit bits (authorised by the giraffe centre), touched and stroked by us all. Mr Nomad held a treat between his teeth which was duly retrieved by a giraffe and he ended up covered in giraffe slobber, much to the amusement of the rest of us.
Upon our return back to our accommodation, we were delighted to find a Leopard tortoise had moved into the car park so this was a wonderful end to a wonderful day in Nairobi. Mr Nomad spent some time with the tortoise, feeding it water melon which it seemed to appreciate and tucked into it with great fervour.
Unfortunately, the entire Parks family were returning to England the following day so we had an early night, departed for the airport at the crack of dawn and bid our farewells with everybody agreeing that their time in Kenya had been more than magical. Mr Nomad and I had enjoyed the company of the Parks family immensely and we were sad to see them go, but pleased that we had all enjoyed the adventures of the preceding days, even the death defying elephant charging incident, the cheeky (but cute) thieving monkeys, the thrills and spills of the off road driving, and even the insane traffic in Nairobi city centre had been somewhat testing and not something that I would wish to repeat on a regular basis. It had not taken away the joy and exhilaration of this once in a lifetime opportunity with our family and we were grateful that we had been able to share all such experiences.